The Houston Rockets may or may not have Dwight Howard tonight. I'm not sure it'll matter either way. I will be covering this game in person with Justin, so let us know what questions you want us to try and ask.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (26-43) vs. Houston Rockets (46-22)
When: 7:30 ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, Ohio
Where can I watch: Fox Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass
The Houston Rockets are really good. The have a decent grip on the 4th seed in the Western Conference. James Harden is a star. He leads the team in both points and assists. Dwight Howard has been hurt lately, but has rebounded from a tough situation in Los Angeles. Aside from those guys, though, the Rockets have a bunch of different guys who are pretty good at scoring. Chandler Parsons has elevated himself from the "whoa, he's pretty good for a 2nd round pick" to "okay, this guy is one of the better small forwards in the league." He can shoot, handle, distribute. He doesn't defend at the level you would like, but he's a really valuable player.
Jeremy Lin and Terrence Jones are guys with clear deficiencies (namely, defense, though Jones retains some upside there) but can fill it up. We will always remember Linsanity of course. Jones scored 30 points the other night against the Utah Jazz.
Interestingly, I saw the Rockets play last week in Chicago. They got absolutely blown out. Howard was beat up by Joakim Noah, and no one wanted to guard Mike Dunleavy, Jr. It was kind of a weird game. Two days later, the Rockets played the Miami Heat tough. The Rockets had a lead with 3 or so minutes left in the game, and then promptly forgot how to produce points. I don't know that the Rockets are title contenders, just yet. But they are really talented, and they have won a lot of games. The Cavs will have their hands full.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are banged up. A guy named Shane Edwards has played minutes for the team. Seth Curry might see some time tonight. But the absence of Kyrie Irving and C.J. Miles has led to a lot of time for Dion Waiters. He has handled it pretty well. He isn't making free throws, and that isn't just a small nitpicking fact. If he were shooting 80% from the free throw line instead of 67% for the year, his true shooting percentage would be pretty darn good for a second year player. We might be talking about him much differently. But he hasn't. I don't know that there is a simple fix. I hope he does, because there are some other parts of his game that are really promising right now.
Tristan Thompson has been pretty bad of late. Maybe he is tired. The matchups have been bad. Teams are switching centers on to him and power forwards on to Spencer Hawes. I might try and ask Mike Brown tonight how he can counteract that. I'm going to cut this short and head downtown to Cleveland. Let us know how you want us to cover the game, we will try and do our best.
Fear the Sword's fearless prediction: Cavs win a shootout with Dion Waiters and James Harden trading baskets. Cavs 114, Rockets 113.